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Senate decries lack of law to fight terrorism

…condemns increasing terrorism in Nigeria

By Ben Agande & Shaibu Inalegwu

ABUJA—Senators yesterday expressed worry over the lack of existing laws to strengthen the fight against terrorism in the country and called for the passage of laws that would put the country in a good stead to fight the scourge.

Already, a bill to combat terrorism scaled through second reading in the Senate with many senators expressing worry that Nigeria has failed to domesticate seven of the nine international conventions and laws that prohibit the act with only two being partially domesticated.

The bill entitled, ‘An act to provide for measures to combat terrorism’, which was sponsored by the Senate Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin raises concern on the increasing terrorism and terrorist acts in Nigeria and the apparent lack of laws to prohibit them.

Leading the debate, Senator Folarin said, “It is important to note that Nigeria does not have a comprehensive anti-terrorism law and for that reason has failed to meet the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force, FATF, established by the G-7 Summit which main objective is to detect, prevent and suppress the financing of terrorism and terrorist acts.

“It is a fact that terrorism is taking root and assuming a new dimension everywhere and it is our duty as responsible lawmakers to work towards its eradication through the promulgation of relevant legislation.

“Taking of foreign and Nigerian hostages in the South-South and South-East is no longer news. The Boko Haram episode in Borno State, the Kala Kato uprising in Bauchi State and the Jos crisis in Plateau State are nothing less than acts of terrorism in Nigeria which must be nipped in the bud.”

The bill was unanimously supported by the Senators, with majority of them labelling the Niger Delta crisis, vandalisation of oil pipelines and electrical installations of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, and other violent acts as terrorism.

Blames act of terror on bad governance

Those who spoke also blamed the various acts of terrorism on bad governance, poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment.

Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba, PDP, Cross River Central, in his contribution said Nigeria has  not done enough to combat terrorism thereby giving impetus for terrorists to carry out the acts of terrorisms.

He said, “There is a concern that Nigeria is not doing enough to fight terrorism. There is a clear consensus among nations that Nigeria is not a terror, at least not yet. But there are concerns that there are loopholes for terrorism in this country and they have identified the loopholes. The time for us to act is now.”

Also contributing, the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu expressed fears that Nigeria may soon become a hot bed for terrorist of the problems of education, health and poverty is not addressed by government.

His words, “As we are trying to address terrorism, we must need to address education deficits, health and poverty. We must begin to address the issues of poverty because it is the same neglect of these critical issues that has led to pockets of acts which we are now classifying as terrorism.”


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